Updates on Advocacy for Healthcare Justice
Your Senators need to hear from you now and often. A vote on the Senate healthcare bill has been postponed until after the July 4th Congressional recess. But don’t be fooled healthcare for millions is still very much in jeopardy, because as one Senate watcher said, “don’t under estimate Senator McConnell’s ability to cobble together enough votes to pass even unpopular legislation.”
Please consider participating in the 24 hour healthcare interfaith vigil starting on Wednesday at 4pm ET and ending on Thursday 3pm ET at the Capitol.
With the release of the bill and the Congressional Budget Office scoring of it coming out just yesterday, we see that there are horrendous cuts and caps and the Medicaid program, as we know it, wouldn’t recover from these changes.
There are three things you can do now:
- call your Senators’ Capitol Hill offices and keep calling.
- email your senators healthcare staffers.
- reach out to family and friends and forward this message especially to those in states of key senators whose vote could make a difference.
For details see below.
The Senate bill was finally unveiled (the Better Care Reconciliation Act) and it’s largely the same as the House bill, but worse. It would result in 22 million more people losing healthcare coverage.
Specifically, the bill:
- Ends the Medicaid expansion, which has enabled 11 million people to access quality, affordable health care.
- Caps Medicaid, dramatically cutting federal support for the program over time. States will be forced to ration care and choose between what services to cut and who to cut from Medicaid.
- Shifts billions of dollars for healthcare coverage from the most vulnerable low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities to tax cuts for the most wealthy individuals and insurance corporations. COB reports 22 million people more will lose coverage by 2026.
1. Call both of your Senators’ Capitol Hill offices.
Dial 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to the Senator’s office. If the number is busy or you don’t get through, call 1-888-738-3058. Or find your senators direct phone number and other contact information from this list of individual Senators’ DC office telephone numbers.
Here’s a sample script for calling – Look up where your Senators stand and adapt your message for their position. If they oppose this bad bill say “thank you and please raise concerns publicly about the dangerous cuts and caps to Medicaid.”
My name is ____________ and I live in (city and state) ____________.
I believe that healthcare is a moral issue. I’m deeply concerned that the Senate healthcare bill would make changes and cuts to the Medicaid program which will eliminate healthcare for millions of vulnerable people, and reduce women’s access to health care services.
I urge the Senator to oppose any bill that cuts or caps Medicaid, or phases out Medicaid expansion. Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare. Don’t give tax breaks to the wealthy and insurance companies by taking away healthcare from millions of people including the most vulnerable Americans.
2. Email your Senators’ healthcare staffers. (list at SenateHealthcareStaffers)
- Use a descriptive subject line such as “Support healthcare for all.”
- First identify yourself as a constituent and state that you are writing about your concerns on the healthcare bill.
- Be original and speak from the heart. Describe a personal experience, story or special concern; OR Include 1-2 talking points (see below), in your own words, to support your message.
- Include a clear and specific action request. “I urge you to…” or ask a question, “Will you commit to opposing legislation that would cut or cap Medicaid…?” Ask for a response to your concerns.
- Include your name and complete street address to confirm you are a constituent. Otherwise they won’t consider your message.
- Share what you learned. Send a message to me at firstname.lastname@example.org in the subject line put “Healthcare Senators’ Responses.”
3. Reach out to family and friends and forward this action alert especially to those in the states listed below. Strongly urge them to contact their Senators as described in 1 & 2. Look up where senators stand on the healthcare bill.
- AK Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665
- AZ Jeff Flake 202-224-4521
- AZ John McCain 202-224-2235
- LA Bill Cassidy 202-224-5824
- ME Susan Collins 202-224-2523
- NV Dean Heller 202-224-6244
- OH Rob Portman 202-224-3353
- WV Shelley Moore Capito 202-224-6472
If you have any questions, contact send an email to email@example.com.
Talking points and what to tell your senators:
- Protect Medicaid! Oppose any legislation that cuts and caps Medicaid spending. Medicaid provides 65 million people, nearly one in five Americans, access to quality healthcare.
- Oppose efforts to roll back the Medicaid expansion. Eleven million people now have coverage in the 32 states that have adopted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The program will start to be rolled back starting in 2020. The proposed changes will harm Medicaid and change it forever as an entitlement and put affordable healthcare out of reach for the most vulnerable people in our society, including the disabled and low income children and families.
- Protect women’s access to healthcare. The UU Federation of Women states: “As Unitarian Universalists committed to gender equity, we believe in justice, dignity, and compassion for all. Universal access to affordable and comprehensive health care is a moral imperative.” Essential health benefits must include women’s health such as pregnancy and maternity care. Medicaid pays for half of all births, including two-thirds of unplanned births. Defunding Planned Parenthood will leave thousands of women without access to health care services — and will also result in more unintended pregnancies.
- Protect healthcare coverage for all – Talk to your constituents about healthcare needs: The Senate bill would leave 22 million more uninsured by 2026. Next year 15 million people would be uninsured compared to current law (CBO report). Healthcare coverage keeps people in the workforce and children in school, aids the economy, prevents spread of communicable diseases, and provides essential services in case of natural disasters. Medical bills are the #1 cause of bankruptcies.
- Take seriously the link between climate change/environmental issues and healthcare: Growing climate change and environmental degradation put millions of Americans at increased risk of lifelong, often irreversible and costly medical problems. Eroding air and water quality (think Flint) endanger people — especially children — and longer, hotter summers, extended fire season, rising sea levels, occupational exposures to chemicals and hazardous conditions, and other problems rooted in exploitation of the Earth make it ever more important to ensure accessible, affordable, quality healthcare for all.